Filing an Auto Insurance Claim: OEM vs. Aftermarket Parts

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    Statistics from the National Safety Council state that there are more than 12 million car accidents involving more than 20 million vehicles each year. That’s a lot of bent fenders, crumpled trunks, and broken doors in need of repair. If you’re driving, there’s a good chance you’ll file a claim sooner or later car insurance claims, finding repair shop estimates and deciding between OEM and aftermarket parts. Here’s what you need to know to make the best choice regarding OEM replacement parts.

    OEM Vs. Secondary spare parts

    If you go to your dealership, they will be pushing OEM (Original Equipment Manufacture) parts. There is nothing wrong with that. OEM parts have a number of benefits (we’ll get into them in a minute), but check your car insurance policy first. Most standard comprehensive auto insurance policies mandate the use of functionally equivalent parts because they usually cost less than OEM parts. Your policy may allow you to use OEM parts, but it may also require you to share some of the cost.

    Pros and cons of OEM vs aftermarket parts?

    An OEM part will be exactly what you need. The part will be guaranteed to perform the same as the part you are replacing. It will also be covered by your dealer’s warranty, as will work in most cases. All well and good, but as mentioned, OEM parts are more expensive – sometimes 60% more than equivalent aftermarket parts. Where you can buy them is quite limited; if you don’t have time to search online, you’ll probably have to get them from a dealer (and pay a dealer markup). You may be paying more for a name brand as many replacement parts work just as well.

    Aftermarket parts are almost always cheaper than OEM, which means yours car insurance the company will wholeheartedly support their use. In most cases, you’ll also have a wider range of secondary brands to choose from, with a wider range of competitive prices and greater availability. If you use a reputable brand, you can be completely sure that the quality will be at OEM level. Be aware, however, that quality can vary, especially with unknown or discount brands, and some parts, especially refurbished parts, are not covered by warranty. You should also be careful not to buy hot parts on the black market. You don’t want your car impounded as evidence in a federal racketeering case! The safest option is to go to a reliable mechanic or repair shop.

    Checking references and track records has never been easier, so do your homework first. Your insurance company or agent can probably provide you with a list of preferred repair shops.

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